One sweet day
BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Girlie Garces (The Freeman) - August 9, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — He will definitely be missed. And even as of this writing, I cannot help but be emotional about the passing of a dear friend and brother, Pastor Joel de Goma of Living Word Christian Ministries, Talisay Outreach. 


Brother Joel finished his race in this world with a nice view of the sunrise after his jog along the South Reclamation Properties last July 28.

It was a normal Saturday. And like any ordinary weekend where children just want to sleep longer, Daniel and Precious snuggled in bed while Joel took his early morning jog. We really do not know what triggered his heart attack. He was fit. Never diagnosed of a heart condition, and he led a simple and healthy lifestyle. His wife Daphne, who is his best friend and partner in almost everything, family, ministry, life, knew that in this ordinary day, when the call came, this was not going to be ordinary.

So Brother Joel moved on. Ahead. One sweet day. The texts that came to inform us shocked us. He was young and a very promising servant of God. He slowly built the church in Talisay City on faith. And we were surprised at the outpouring of love and support when we attended his wake in their still to be finished edifice. He took that leap of faith when they started the ministry in Talisay, he made the same leap when they bought the property. He took another leap of faith when they started building the structure. And now, he took his final leap, his final run, and finished the race.

Last night I sat in our living room and looked at the space where Brother Joel stood when he blessed our house. He talked about God’s using our home to be a house where friendships will abound, where conflicts will be resolved, where the presence of God will prevail. And he was right. God has raised and ruled in our home in spite of moments where we succumb to our idols of busyness, and lethargy.

But where is home? Where is God’s home? Are the spaces in our hearts open so He may be able to sit there and reign? Brother Joel always found time for us. He blessed our land, our house, our car, and most of all, our hearts.

It may seem ironic that it was his heart that gave up on him. But I choose to think that the fullness of God in his heart could no longer be contained, that Brother Joel’s love for God was so great that he was willing to go where the Lord is and enjoy His love even more. Remember how some doctors would say that you should not be super happy when you have a heart condition because it may cause an attack?  The Joy of seeing God’s face, and knowing He is there in heaven to welcome you must have been what our dear brother may have seen in that ultimate sunrise.

He was at peace. No regrets. All his life he served his master and now he will be feasting there.  Brother Joel told his son Daniel that on his 50th birthday, he would go out somewhere and just be with the Lord, talking with God, in a one on one encounter, like Moses in Mount Horeb or the longer talk in Mount Sinai. That may be happening soon. So though our hearts are lonely for a dear friend, we know, in our heart of hearts where he is and so we rejoice.

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